PAOAY, Ilocos Norte – With the scenic Paoay Lake as backdrop and amid applause of hundreds of local spectators and sports people, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) along with the Manila Boat Club (MBC) formally launched the 71st Amateur Rowing Association of the East and Far East Amateur Rowing Association International Rowing Regatta last January 15, 2013.
The opening ceremony of this sports event, now branded as the 1st International Paoay Regatta, was attended by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, provincial officials, Paoay Mayor Bonifacio Clemente Jr., MBC officers, Benjamin Ramos, president of the Philippine Rowing Association, and the rowers and captains of participating rowing clubs.
“Truly, legend will once again reign here in the lake through your [participants] athletic ability, your victory, and your tremendous discipline and teamwork. Let us bring life to Paoay Lake… Let the races begin,” Gov. Marcos said in her short message.
“This championship will largely contribute to improving competitiveness and popularizing this sport. The event has great significance because it will give us the opportunity to observe this great venue (Paoay Lake) where we hope to hold more international rowing events in the future,” Ramos said.
Participants in this water sports are amateur rowers from India (Bengal Rowing Club, Calcutta Rowing Club, College of Engineering Boat Club-Pune, College of Military Engineering Pune Rowing Club, The Lake Club Kolta, Madras Boat Club, and The Rowing Center Chennai), Pakistan (Karachi Boat Club), Singapore (Easter Rowing Club), Sri Lanka (Colombo Rowing Club) and the host, Philippines (Manila Boat Club).
Meanwhile, Colin Smith, the MBC boat captain, commended the provincial government for the support it has provided MBC even as he invited the international participants to “spread the word [about] this beautiful province… bring with you your friends and your family back to us soon.”
MBC, the oldest sporting club in the country, has chosen Paoay Lake as its playround for this event for its calm nature and breathtaking scenery, which organizers found to be ideal for rowing.
“We are very glad that MBC has selected Paoay Lake as this reaffirms the fact that Paoay Lake has the best potential to be an international rowing destination,” Ianree Raquel, Provincial Tourism Office head, said.—(With report from Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)